Tagged: macro

35mm Macro Photography

One of the reasons I purchased a Pentax KP, a DSLR camera, is that I want to be able to do occasional up-close images of flowers, etc. when I’m out walking and making general landscape images.  For a general purpose lens I chose the Pentax 35mm F2.8 Macro Limited lens.  I wanted this lens for the effective 50mm focal length for general images and for the reasons that it is small.

A potential problem was that a 35mm lens is on the short side for macro work since it requires getting up real close to the subject.  This is only a problem when I can’t get close to the subject.  As you can see in these images that is not a problem for product photography and I’m hoping that is also the case for flowers; but it won’t work for insect photography since getting that close would scare the insect and it would run/fly away.

I also have another problem in that I don’t want to carry and use a tripod when out walking.  Without a tripod I have found that I have a hard time holding the camera absolutely still when bending over to photograph a flower, but I’m working on ways to get the picture.  That is one of the reasons that I wanted the weather resistant heavier camera with a good hand grip.  It is easier for me to hold it steady, but it is still a problem.

I am in the process of checking out another change to enhance my chances of getting the picture.  If I can hold the focus point on the spot I want to be in focus I think that using continuous focus rather than single focus might help if I move a little.  I’m still checking that out, but in the above images I used auto focus (AF.A) while trying it.  With AF.A the camera will switch back and forth between AF.C and AF.S. 

Another feature that I will try is to shift the camera to a fast frame rate and take a bunch of images.  If I do that it will only focus on the first shot and then not change the focus as I tend to move the focus point around due to my not being able to hold the camera still.  In addition, if the wind is slightly moving the flower, the area of focus will be shifting as the flower moves and I might be able to select the best image, in terms of where the DoF is sufficient for the focus I want.

These issues are not a problem if I’m at my computer doing product images since I can keep checking what I’m getting after downloading the files to my computer and then reshoot until I get it right.  I can’t do that while out walking and photographing flowers.

Small, Waterproof, Close-Focusing Camera


This leaf was only 1 inch wide.  I used a small shockproof, waterproof pocket camera (the Olympus TG 820) to take the picture.  I had thought about getting a small pocket camera that I could use for close-up images of small things and bought it when I noticed a good price on it.  The camera only takes jpeg pictures with a very small sensor, but it is small, rugged, and easy to carry in my jeans pocket.

I intend to use the camera as a back-up, emergency pocket camera, as well as for close-ups of small objects and for use in the rain.  It is a camera that I can toss about and not worry about damaging in the ice, snow, and rain or while bouncing around in the car.  It doesn’t make very good images of distance subjects but it is useable for some types of pictures as long as I don’t crop the images.  Distant subjects are very “blocky” and look more like the old style paint by the number paintings when you pixel peep, but I think it might be useable for up-close pictures of objects like this small one-inch leaf.

I have a lot of experimenting yet to do but I might also use it for some grainy high contrast B&W images.  I also think that it should take better pictures than many of the cell phone images that we now see so much of since it also has a zoom lens.  I am using this post to alert you that you might be seeing some unusual images in my blog in the future as I experiment.

NEX-6 Focus Point


f/5.0, 16mm focal range, macro mode, and cropped

We had a light snow last night and I decided to take the above picture while experimenting with focusing.  It turns out to not be a major issue but is one of the features of the computer software … the camera’s, not my computer.  Yes, I think of modern cameras as computers since that is what they have become with almost everything being controlled by the camera processor and its software.

In my articles I’m only mentioning issues and features that I find different from other cameras or features that are buried in the camera or manual and have bugged me; i.e. things I think others like me might be interested in.  In that vein I will not discuss the various focusing capabilities such as the hybrid focusing, etc. that are highly advertised and work great.  But, this morning I decided to use the macro focusing feature for the above picture … and I discovered something.  When you switch to the scene mode to select macro, the camera also switches its focusing mode.  (I later found that the manual mentions this in a footnote.)  My focus mode of choice is to use the center focus point, but macro does not use this mode.  The camera chose a different focus point.  It appears to choose the closest point within the set of Phase Detection AF ranging points (displayed on the screen if you set it that way).  These cover a large block in the center of the screen … not the whole screen.  It shows you which point(s) is in focus, but you cannot change it.

When I switched back to my normal program mode of shooting, it also switched back to my center focus point.  I have another issue with the center focus point that is related to the above issue.  As far as I have found so far, I cannot change the size of the focus point, and it is larger than I usually use on other cameras.  I would like to make the size of the focus point smaller, especially if I am up close to the area of interest.  It does appear that in macro mode, the size of the focus point might be smaller, and that would be good if it focused where I want.

Another issue is the close focusing distance of the NEX-6 / 16 – 50mm lens combination.  It seems to be around 8-10 inches at 16 mm focal range and close to the same in or out of macro mode.  It will take me a while to learn and estimate this distance, to learn when and when not to use macro mode, and to learn the effects of zooming on focus distance.  At this point I would say that it is something to consider and be careful with if you plan to take close-up pictures with the NEX-6 and the 16 – 50mm lens.

BTW … for those of you wondering why, there are three reasons I’m mostly shooting at the 16mm, wide end, of the lens.  One, the lens is sharpest at that end.  Two, it is a novelty for me.  Three and the primary reason, I forget that it is a zoom lens.  I’m use to shooting landscapes, etc. with a prime lens on my K-5, and before that on my micro 4/3 cameras, and when you turn the camera on, the lens automatically goes to the wide end.